Monday, April 23, 2012

The "you designed something? where?" wing

Or maybe the post should be called "they needed an architect?"

This center chimney salt box is well loved by its current family.

The view here shows it after the wing I designed/ rebuilt was complete.

I was asked to rebuild the connection between the house, built in 1711, to the barn, probably built after 1860. The house had been updated recently with a new laundry and bathroom in part of the wing and a new kitchen in the main house. Partitions had also been removed to return the main house to its original room layout.

Now the family was ready to tackle the wing. It was very poorly constructed from mismatched and left over materials. One space, a dark room in a previous life, smelled of chemicals. The door to the barn was problematic.Was there even a foundation? But the porch? Ah! that was fine. Here is the original wing.
The 'Big House, Little House, Back House, Barn' way of organizing farmsteads applies to eastern Massachusetts as well as Maine . (See Hubka's book by the same name.) So I had my form. To avoid working around 18th century post and beam framing the old bathroom which needed serious repair was moved to the wing. A new bathroom was added. A second staircase was also included, as the original which rose against the center chimney was tight in all directions including headroom.

So here is a 'little house' and 'back house'. It has bedrooms with closets, an entry graceful enough for company with a mud room tucked around the corner, a back stair with light, a family room and a work room with easy access to the barn, and the welcoming porch.

We all agreed our wing should not compete with a house which has graced its hill for 300 years. And, yes, it takes skill and a good eye to build a quiet addition that suits its inhabitants.